On 5/31/1890 a Louisville, Kentucky firefighter died “while fighting a fire at the DuPont Paper Company. He was overcome by heat and smoke. He was carried out of the building by other members of Engine Company 9 but died about 15 minutes later.”
On 5/31/1908 a London, Ontario, Canada firefighter was “overcome by smoke during a basement fire at the City Hotel at Dundas and Talbot Streets. He had been reported missing before crews left the scene, but after a look around, they returned to the station. Upon returning to the station, it was found that he was still missing, and crews returned to the Hotel and found his body in the basement.”
On 5/31/1945 an Indianapolis, Indiana firefighter died “while fighting a fire set during a riot at Fort Benjamin Harrison. Two thousand men were being held in a prison compound at the fort for crimes they committed while serving in the Army.”
On 5/31/1961 a Chicago, Illinois firefighter, assigned to the fireboat Fred A. Busse, died while fighting a warehouse fire at the Thomas Paper Stock Company on Goose Island at 1500 Hooker. “The 4-11 alarm fire was started by children playing in an empty freight car near the warehouse. Heavy winds spread the flames into the warehouse, which was heavily stocked with flammable paper products. Around one-fifth of the city’s firefighting apparatus responded to the alarm and firefighters were successful in containing the fire to just one warehouse. The fireboat Fred A. Busse responded to help prevent the flames from spreading away from the island and jumping over the Chicago River.”
On 5/31/1980 two Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada firefighters were killed while fighting a fire in the basement of the Queen’s Hotel. A backdraft occurred, and they became trapped unable to escape the basement. They succumbed to smoke inhalation
On 5/31/1988 a San Francisco, California firefighter “died of the head injuries he sustained after the floor had fallen in the fire building.”
On 5/31/2013 a structure collapse killed four and injured fourteen Houston, Texas firefighters in a five-alarm fire at a restaurant connected to the Southwest Inn and quickly spread to the section of the building housing the motel. About 150 firefighters responded and were able to get it under control within about two hours. “Houston Fire Department units were dispatched to a report of a fire in a motel. Firefighters found a working fire with heavy smoke showing and advanced a 2-½” handline into the structure. Firefighters opened the ceiling as they advanced and found fire in the space above. Firefighters were ordered to withdraw from the structure while a water supply was secured. Once a water supply was established, firefighters advanced into the structure. As firefighters advanced, a structural collapse occurred and trapped several firefighters. Four firefighters were killed as a result of the collapse and over a dozen were injured.” “On March 7, 2017, a fifth firefighter, who lost both his legs due to injuries suffered in the collapse almost four years earlier, died of complications from his line-of-duty injuries.” “The restaurant involved in this incident was part of several buildings in the complex that were constructed in 1966 and were built under adopted building codes that were in effect at the time. The structures on the property consisted of a motel, restaurant, and sports bar consisting of more than 26,000 square feet. The restaurant and sports bar were one-story Type V Wood Frame structures attached to a two-story facility that housed the lobby, offices, banquet rooms and meeting rooms for the motel. The one-story restaurant was built on a concrete slab with no basement. When the facility was constructed in 1966, the building code did not require the installation of a sprinkler system.”
On 5/31/1974 the United States Army ammunition plant fire near Radford, Virginia, was destroyed by fire.